UNICEF Zimbabwe in partnership with BOOST and the Ministry of Health and Childcare hosted over 55 adolescents and youth between 10-24 years in the Nutrition Hackathon to bring change to over and under-nutrition through digital technology. The BOOST Fellowship used digital platforms and social media spaces to advertise and campaign for the recruitment of young innovators from across the nation. A total of 160 applications were received and 55 were selected to participate in the Hackathon.
A 3 day event of ICT product development, accompanied with team building activities, and pitch presentations was held at Manna Resorts. A total of 11 teams were delimited with each team having a business development, marketing and software development representative. The Hackathon event received a lot of attention from local media and tech companies who came to support technological development for nutrition in Zimbabwe.
UNICEF, UNDP, ILO, WHO, Save the Children Foundation and the private sector also supported the event as judges and technical experts for business, nutrition and software development. All the 11 teams received 1000 online credits, courtesy from Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe. In addition, the top 3 winning teams also received seed funding of USD1 500 to be reinvested back into their business concepts to help product launch and scale up.
The 3 winning teams have been receiving mentorship and business support site visits in Harare, Bulawayo, Bindura and Masvingo. Team Kula, H- Globin and Yolo 4 Health are working to deploy their ideas for public access, partnership development and niche market expansion. All the top 3 teams have managed to register themselves as formal companies with tax clearance. They purchased laptops and seed funding left will be directed towards marketing and web maintenance.
Young people faced a lot of challenges in deploying their ICT products post the hackathon in the mentorship period due to lack of team work, mainly as a result of distant geographical locations, lack of communication, lack of technical specialty to execute tasks, lack of prioritisation of work, lack of consistent communication between mentors and young people. The following links contain work being done by nutrition innovators during the product development phase: Team Kula Website https://www.kula.co.zw, Team Yolo4Health social media application link: http://yolo4health.co.zw,and H: Globin website link: https://www.h-globin.co.zw. The pictures below show Nutrition Hackathon attendees.